MV Superintendent: No one hurt when weapon brought to school

Steve Chapman

Student who brought weapon into school had no intentions of harming others
No one was hurt when a Mt. Vernon High School student was found to have brought a weapon, likely a gun, to school on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
Mt. Vernon Superintendent of Schools Scott Cook said the student was discovered to have a weapon due to a report phoned into the high school office.

Tip led to discovery of weapon on campus
“Administration was made aware of the possibility of the presence of a weapon at school due to a report of a Mount Vernon High School student to an adult who was not part of the school staff,” he said. “That adult then called the school and reported the possibility to high school administration.”
Cook said there was never any danger to the student body during the incident. He credited Asst. Principal Chris Johnston and School Resource Officer Ed Evatt with quickly and quietly handling the situation.
“There was not an imminent danger to students or staff at school in that the weapon was not readily accessible and no threats of general violence were intended,” he said. “However, any weapon at school is an unwelcome presence. The school environment is clearly less safe when a weapon is present. The quick, calm, and discrete response of Assistant Principal Chris Johnston and School Resource Officer Ed Evatt was vital to maintaining safety for students and staff and alleviated the potentially volatile situation.”
Dave Hubert, chief of the Mt. Vernon Police Department, said the weapon was located on the student, who he said was a “17-year-old male” and a resident at the Baptist Children’s Home.
“We got him into the office, searched him and found the weapon,” he said. Both Hubert and Cook declined to say what sort of weapon the student had on him; Hubert also said it was not currently known how the student acquired the weapon.
In response to a question about what sort of gun the student brought to campus, Cook said, "No comment."

Consequences include a year-long suspension, possible expulsion and criminal charges
Cook declined to say what consequences the student could face, but did say that, under both the laws of Missouri and the board’s policy, any student who is in possession of a weapon on school grounds “is subject to a required suspension of one calendar year,” with the additional possibility of permanent expulsion.
“The Board does have the authority to consider expulsion of a student who commits violations of this nature,” he said, “meaning they would never be allowed to return to the district.”
Cook also said that “there was a specific reason the weapon was brought to school by the student in question,” but did not indicate what the reason was.
Hubert said it is “very possible” that the student will face charges for having the weapon at school, and that he did not believe the boy will attend public school in the future.
“He will never see the light of a Mt. Vernon school, or any public school, ever again,” he said.
Currently, Hubert added, the boy is being held in a juvenile facility.

Parents kept in the loop
To reassure parents that their children at the high school were safe, Cook said he sent the parents this message: “This afternoon High School Administration was informed of a possible weapon on campus at MVHS. Administration acted quickly in response to the report with the support of the District’s School Resource Officer. Steps were taken to secure the situation and, upon searching the reported student, a weapon was located and immediately confiscated. The student involved was taken into custody and the district has no knowledge of any further threat moving forward. However, out of an abundance of caution, there will be an additional law enforcement presence on campus tomorrow.”


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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